Fiction Ed’s Blog: Our Cover Artwork, Part Two

Following on from last week’s blog, I hope you might enjoy looking at some of our covers, through the years.

Our First Cover

Here’s our first cover (above) – from Wednesday, January 13, 1869.

No illustrations at all, only type – and tiny type, at that!

Illustrations began to appear from March, 1880, with the first fiction illustration appearing in 1883.

Poetry was illustrated from around 1900.

Covers Through The Years

Through the early part of the 20th century, covers were often in the style of ‘wraparounds’ featuring adverts, which were separate from the rest of the magazine.

Here’s one from January 2, 1911.

Covers then started to look more like the covers we know today, but were still very advert-focused – such as these, from 1926…

…and 1936 (below).

In August 1941, possibly as an attempt to save paper (due to the war effort), wraparounds vanished.

Our ‘J. Campbell Kerr’ covers began in 1946 (below)…

…and were signed by the artist from 1947.

We had lots of nice correspondence about our cover’s new look.

“The new cover seemed to give an additional dignity and richness to the “Friend”, and is in keeping with the fine traditions of your magazine.”

So said M.S. of Edinburgh, in our ‘Letters From You’ page of June 15, 1946.

Until the early 1950s, another cover artist, Ian Ramsay’s illustration also appeared (below).

Occasionally, covers didn’t feature a geographical location:

By 1956, the weekly covers were evolving to include a bit more colour, especially blue skies, over which the “People’s Friend” banner appears.

More colour crept in throughout the 1960s, and we begin to see full colour paintings on the cover by September 1970.

The Masthead

Our “People’s Friend” masthead has changed throughout the years, too.

Our first issues carried the line ‘A Monthly Miscellany In Connection With the ‘People’s Journal”.

By 1894, it was ‘A Miscellany Of Popular And Instructive Literature’.

The Famous Story Paper For Women

In 1911, it was ‘The Favourite Home Journal For Every Member of the Household’.

‘The Favourite Home Journal’ would be the line from 1911 until around the mid-1950s, when we dropped the tagline.

By the 1960s and 70s we were ‘The Famous Story Paper For Women’.

Here’s how ‘The Famous Story Magazine’ looked by the millennium:

And by 2009, our cover looked like this:

Finally, here’s an up-to-date cover, from June 2022.

Wonder what the “Friend” covers of the future will look like?

With thanks to our archivist, Barry Sullivan for his help compiling this piece.

Lucy Crichton

Fiction Editor Lucy is always on the look-out for the very best short stories, poems and pocket novels. As well as sourcing enjoyable content, she enjoys working with our established contributors, encouraging new talent, and celebrating 155 years of 'Friend' fiction!